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Kamal's Eleventh Avatar!

By By: Settu Shankar
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    Acting legend Kamal Hassan is now taking his eleventh avatar as an Ambassador for AIDS awareness programmes jointly organised by UNO and Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society. The campaign, titled 'Ini oru Vidhi Seivom' (Lets make a new beginning), the first of the series was launched by the actor yesterday at Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women (SITE) in Chennai on Thursday. The actor took a pledge with hundreds of college students to uphold the rights of HIV positive people through a song he has penned in Tamil.

    "This I promise: people living with HIV have the same rights as I do. To live, to grow, to learn, to dream and to be part of my world. I promise to uphold their rights and to give them strength in their times of need. I have the power to make our world a fairer, kinder and a better place to be…" echoed everyone assembled at the event, held to launch a multimedia campaign on the human rights issues of HIV positive people.

    "Around 170 such halls could be filled with HIV positive people. But less than half the people, who suffer, are willing to admit their HIV positive status because of the stigma associated with the disease. They need our support and help," the actor told students.

    Kamal Hassan said, “I am proud to share the stage with the brave people, who are fighting the disease and helping others to do the same. I feel more privileged being the brand ambassador in this project than endorsing commercial brands. In fact, I never give my date for such brands!" he said.

    On World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1, this pledge will be taken by various people across the 30 districts in Tamil Nadu and radio stations will encourage listeners to call in and take the pledge. Those, who want to take the pledge, can visit www.letsmakeitright.in.

    Supriya Sahu IAS, project director of Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society, said though the number of HIV cases were on the decline, there were many more needed to come forward to be treated.

    "The campaign launched today focused more on changing the attitude towards people afflicted with AIDS. We want the campaign to reach out to as many people as possible," said Pieter Bolt, UN coordinator, after the launch of this state-wide campaign to sensitise people on AIDS victims.

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